There must be something about the train that induces thinking, for every time I’m on one lately, I feel the need to write. (Having to waste time during the 20 minute delay helps, too.) Whenever one connecting train is late, there is a trickle down effect, delaying everyone else (even though most everyone is seated already.)
With an abundant amount of downtime, one has much time to think about whatever may pop into their head. (For instance, my immediate thoughts are on the annoying person behind me shaking my seat and the atrocious smell of the woman who chose to sit next to me.) But even more so, my thoughts keep landing on something that’s crossed my mind rather frequently the last week – my childhood.
Looking back at photos of me as a child, I see a much different person than I was used to seeing for the majority of my life. My three-year-old self was fearless and confident, wanting to sing and dance for anyone who would watch. The older me, the one that existed from about the start of middle school until the end of high school, was shy and independent, avoiding the limelight at all costs. Even the me I was merely a year ago is an entirely different person.
However, the more I reflect upon the changes made in just one year, the more I can see myself reverting back to my childlike characteristics. Where I was once too shy to express my potentially unpopular opinion, I now share my feelings, knowing it is better to be honest than to blend with the crowd. The me who used to think I wasn’t good enough – that there was always someone better – now believes my work is worthwhile and will lead to good things sooner or later. I’ve learned to embrace the individuality that once would’ve been looked down upon in the cookie-cutter world of teenagers.
We need to remember what life was like when we were children, when the biggest issue was who would get to play as the Pink and Green Power Rangers that day on the playground, or which starter Pokémon was better, Bulbasaur, Squirttle or Charmander. We need to reconnect with the younger version of ourselves who would run around confidently in the most mismatched outfits during a time when fashion wasn’t about status but about freedom of choice.
Children know how to wholeheartedly enjoy their increasing freedoms as they grow, but the fear that settles in as we age tugs at our confidence and willingness to take chances. But like a group of kids at the other end of the rope, we must tug back and reclaim the person we once were.
It is that person, and everyone you were in between, that trickles down into the personality you exude now – a personality that would have never existed if not for the others. Learn from who you’ve been, for delaying your own development will only hold others back from getting to know the real you.